With so many distractions, from Netflix, Facebook, and Instagram, to household duties, visitors, and noisy neighbors, freelancers can have a heck of a time trying to manage their time and stay on task.
Where’s that intimidating supervisor, breathing down your neck? Where’s the barking boss, the passive coworkers, and the subtle crying in the bathroom stall? Replace all those with kids wrapped around each leg, barking neighborhood dogs, laundry, and crying in the comfort of your own home.
Freelancers are on their own. Their main opponent is the deadline, but before that comes the final battle with themselves.
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There are many apps available to help keep freelancers on task and productive. The main issues these apps tackle involve invoicing, late payments and accounting, file-sharing and communication with clients, time-management and work-life balance, and job searches. Not only are these issues that freelancers worry about, they also affect the clients: businesses that choose to outsource.
Of course, hiring a freelancer is an excellent option for businesses looking for detailed, professional, and unique work. Freelancers don’t have the luxury of customer service or human resources departments. Their work directly represents their names, and vice versa. So, note to businesses and Ms. Capulet, that’s what’s in a name.
If you’re a business owner or department manager that’s looking to outsource, or if you’re a freelancer yourself, here are some apps that can help pave the way to a successful and well-structured future.
Remember when iPhone apps were in their infantile stage and all anyone had was a digital lighter, a digital pint, and a digital zipper. For better and for worse, we now have apps for – virtually – anything.
Technology addiction is real, and it’s strong. The problem is, freelancing requires technology. It’s just so easy to sink into a binge-watching-fest of your favorite show.
And of course, there’s the notorious scroll. Why can’t we, as intelligent beings, just stop scrolling? Give us smartphones and we become moths to a lightbulb.
But we moths have solutions! Distractions taking over? When fighting procrastination and lack of focus: set limitations.
Freelancers can limit themselves from social media by using apps or extensions such as:
These programs help users manage their time by cutting out certain social outlets. A warning that side effects, such as increased productivity, fewer headaches, and less overall stress, may occur.
Additionally, it’s a lot easier to stay on task when you can visualize your schedule more. Acknowledging the time you have left for certain tasks can really light a fire under your seat.
A freelancer working from home might keep a physical calendar on the wall beside them at all times. Nerd.
But a freelancer that’s on the go and working from different locations might need something accessible and engaging to help with scheduling tasks and organizing their time. And by that I mean mobile and naggy. A calendar won’t alert you when something is due, but certain apps can.
Evernote is a very popular app used to help capture ideas and lists, and help organize tasks.
Remember The Milk allows users to balance work and personal tasks. The app sends reminders based on lists the user creates.
CushionApp is a very visual tool designed specifically for freelancers. With this app, freelancers can manage their schedules, while monitoring their budgets and workloads. There are addon options that allow users to connect their calendars, as well as Harvest, Freshbooks, Xero, and FreeAgent accounts. Cushion also has an invoice email integration that will automatically send invoices and reminders to clients. Read on for more invoicing resources.
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Of course, Google has an app for everything. And businesses can benefit greatly by investing in G Suite. Docs, Gmail, Sheets, Dropbox, Drive, and Calendar can all connect and help freelancers and businesses stay on task and in good communication.
Gone are the days of newspaper job listings. Luckily we’re in a world now where job postings are much more organized and specific to individual expertise.
Of course, job posting apps and websites have to appeal to both freelancers and businesses seeking talent. Aside from the commonly used sites, such as Indeed, Craigslist, Monster, and Glassdoor, check out platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, Guru, and Gigwalk.
One big risk of being a freelancer is not having the security of accounts payable.
Wave (free!), And Co (not free), FreshBooks (not free), Harvest (free option) are a few options that have great user reviews. Invoice Home provides template options for invoices.
Bosnai (mostly free) and Cushion are all-in-one platforms that have a focus on invoices and reminders. Imagine being ignored after all the hard work you’d done and hours you committed to a client. It might not be so easy or advisable to send a few passive, increasingly cutthroat emails requesting payment.
The solution? Make someone else do it. Automated messages not only relieve the stress and save some time, they also come off as more systematic (crafted by professionals) and authoritative.
Veem can help businesses pay their freelancers or contractors. It can also allow those contractors to request payments, both domestic or internationally.
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Although freelancers are at the mercy of their habits and clients, there are many solutions. Take advantage of the many resources to better your freelance experience. Restrict your scroll time and replace it with productivity apps.
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